Caterpillar Pass

Type of Activity: Trust - MEDIUM RISK

Props Needed: None

Set Up: You’ll want a mid-size open area. Plays well with 25 (or more) for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Process: First you will need to explain the activity (with the information provided below) so you can get a volunteer to be the initial active participant – the participant to be passed. (You will also want to know who does not feel comfortable enough to be a passer – these participants can be   standing spotters.) Then you need to ask 4 other participants to be standing spotters. From here you will ask the remainder of the group to form two lines facing each other – we like at least 10    participants on each side. Have these participants on their backs lying “ear-to-ear” with the person across from them, sort of like the “zipper” in Cookie Machine arrangement except now their entire body is the zipper instead of just their arms. At this point the participants lying down (the passers) raise both arms straight up from the ground in front of their face. This will look much like a huge “caterpillar” lying on its back with its legs sticking straight up!!  When the passers are ready the standing spotters, two or more on each side of the active participant, help get the participant into a horizontal position as performed in Touching the Sky. From here the standing spotters pass the active participant (using their skills from Cookie Machine and the Human Web) onto the hands of the passing spotters lying on the floor (see picture for the visual). The passing spotters will of course need strong arms, being able to bend at the elbows, as they pass the active participant slowly down the line. As the participant is being passed along the standing spotters move to the other end of the line to spot and lift the active participant off the passing hands – being very careful not to let the legs of the active participant kick any of the passers.

Warning: Needless to say (but we want to anyway) this activity has safety issues. You must be very diligent as a facilitator to keep things as safe as possible. Make sure there are enough participants helping lift and pass the active participant – before, during, and after. Keep the activity slow and controlled. You, or other standing spotters, will be able to step in around the line (watch out for stepping on hair) to help support along the way if needed. Above all, be mindful of your group. If you have any apprehensions you might choose another activity. We don’t want you to avoid this activity – it is very powerful. We just want you to “Keep’em safe!”

Debriefing Topics:

  • How did the group support each other?
  • What pushed you outside your comfort zone?
  • What feelings did you experience?
  • How did it feel to be responsible for someone else’s safety?

For more resources see: The Empty Bag

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